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One of the more interesting defensive ends in this year’s class is the hard to pronounce Owamagbe Odighizuwa.  The former UCLA Bruin seems to be rocketing up some people’s draft boards, so I OOdecided to take a closer look.  After reviewing five of his games against Virginia, USC, Utah, Texas, and Arizona State, it was clear the skill set he brings to the NFL could greatly improve the team that drafts him.  Here are my thoughts:

DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa, UCLA 6’ 3” 267 lbs.

Cons: Although the aftermath did not show on the game tape I viewed, the former Bruin had hip surgeries in 2013, which caused him to miss that entire year. This injury could affect his performance a few years down the road and sap his fluidity.  Once Odighizuwa comes out of his stance in pass rushing situations, he can get tunnel vision on the quarterback and tends to over pursue while getting too high in his stance. 

Pros: The defensive lineman lined up at both defensive end spots and occasionally kicked inside to defensive tackle.  He mostly used a four point stance off the line of scrimmage, but sometimes would stand up like a linebacker near the line.  Odighizuwa has a quick first step and gets great initial penetration off the snap. The defender explodes towards the blocker in front of him and does a good of job of knocking them on their heels.  By keeping his arms extended, this defensive end does not allow the offensive lineman into his body, which makes it easier to shed them away.

He uses a combination of bull rushes, spin moves, and dips underneath the shoulder pads of the blocker to swim around on the way to the quarterback.  Odighizuwa uses his power to cause the most punishment when he gets his hands on the signal caller. This is usually on the mind of the quarterback, which forces the throw earlier than intended.  When the defender can’t get to the passer, he makes sure his arms extend to swat the ball or at least cloud the passing lane.

Against the run, this defensive end disengages with his blockers quickly filling his assigned gap or crashing down the line to find the pigskin.  He has a great motor and pursues plays downfield once the ball carrier gets past the line of scrimmage. Odighizuwa often forces double teams to clear him out-of-the-way when offenses run to his side, because the defender anchors so well.  Teams shouldn’t underestimate his strength either as he can be occupied by a blocker and slide down reaching out with one hand to take a player down.

Overall thoughts: Odighizuwa is an impressive defender who might be a late first round consideration in the NFL Draft, but will probably be available in your rookie IDP draft in the late second to mid-third rounds.  If he goes to a solid 4-3 defense, this defensive end could prove huge value in both tackle and sack heavy formats.  However, if Odighizuwa gets forced to play in an outside linebacker role, I’m not sure that he will be as successful.


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